Sharjah: Chris Gayle, who has never been to Pakistan or Afghanistan on a cricketing trip, is game to visit either nation provided he gets a ‘private jet to make the trip.’
The characteristic riposte came in reply to a question after steering his team Balkh Legends to the semi-finals in the inaugural edition of the Afghanistan Premier League (APL) on Thursday.
“I’ve never been to Pakistan or Afghanistan, but perhaps I can go and chill with the Prime Minister (Imran Khan) since he was a former cricketer,” Gayle said after topscoring with 73 runs against the Kandahar Knights.
“I have never been to Afghanistan. We will have to wait and see if I will undertake a trip there [for the second edition of the APL next year]. If you have a private jet then send it to me, and that would be my condition to visit Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he joked.
Approved by the International Cricket Council, the inaugural edition of the APL had around 30 overseas players spread across the five participating teams with Gayle joined by other big names like Brendon McCullum and Shahid Afridi as the icon players. With the first edition concluding with the final on Sunday, talk is already on to plan a bigger and better APL next season with Afghanistan as one of the options.
“We shall see what happens next year. There is still time and there is so much of cricket left in-between now and the next edition. Let us see what happens when that time comes,” Gayle said.
However, Gayle — nicknamed Universe Boss — saw a bright future for cricket in Afghanistan with the launch of the APL. “At least this league will ensure a start for Afghanistan. The base has been laid and we all know that we can actually build on this inaugural edition of the APL. I am sure a lot of the other players have noticed this league and they will show an interest as well and the league will continue growing,” he hoped.
The former Windies captain was pleased to see the emergence of several youngsters due to the APL. “They [the youngsters] are now in a unique position to take a lot from what the other players have done so far in this tournament. They are free to take whatever they can and use it in their game,” Gayle added.